Monday, 9 June 2014

Is being happy a curse?

I have been out of counselling for over a month now. I wouldn't say I miss it as such but I do miss the anonymity of it. As having the chance to be totally frank with someone who has the skills to listen was very organic and quite liberating.

However, over the last month I have been thinking a lot about how difficult it is to actually be happy or to stay unhappy for that matter. I have always been a person who tries to stay upbeat, smile through the unfunny jokes or if I am with a group of people I try to be cheery and be really positive to other peoples stories. I'll never forget a time when I was a teenager, I was at a friends bbq, and he said how 'awesomely happy' he was at the party going so well. I remember thinking 'how an earth can you be awesomely happy?'

As much as I like trying to be a happy go lucky sort of person there is another part of me that always make me wonder. What happens on those days we aren't awesomely happy? or just don't want to smile and be upbeat? Why can't we just feel what we want to feel?

One of the things I have struggled with since realising I have depression is to not feel guilty of my less than happy days or angry at myself for feeling annoyed. Since people know me for being quite loud, chatty and positive I guess it can be a real downer for them when they see I am not. So I feel guilty for feeling a little lower or when I have snapped and didn't mean to (but I really did if that makes sense.) It's like you're hit with double emotions! I feel annoyed anyway but then I am an angry at being annoyed - argh! It's very confusing.

The one thing I do know is it takes a lot of energy. I find when I have low days it's because I have had a really social day of trying to feel positive around other people's energy. Don't get me wrong, I do not feel like this all of the time but there have been certain moments this has happened. It starts to become unmanageable and then that's when the negative thinking and anxiety plays up.

It's times like this I wish I still had counselling to talk through it and even though I could back I really want to get over this stumbling block on my own. One of the biggest things in counselling is learning to be aware of what our minds do and the tricks it plays. As once you are aware of something you work out why it is happening and try to piece the puzzle. So over the last month I have become aware of myself and the emotions I portray and I have learnt one thing.

Just go with your emotions.

Sometimes instead of masking how you're feeling, we just need to go with it. A few weeks ago I had a terribly low day. I just felt sad and very despondent. I remember my mum telling me to read a book to take my mind off my feeling of emptiness and I even considered going out to see friends to distract me. But in truth I could not be bothered. I just pottered around the house feeling miserable and finding it an effort to smile. I cried a few times and sighed at memories that popped into my head. But you know something? There was something quite comforting in just being able to walk through that emotion instead of trying to hide it. There was no extra energy involved and I had the freedom to just feel how I wanted to feel that day. I woke up the next day and felt a bit better. Yet I knew if I had tried to cover up my mood I would have probably woken up really tired and worn out.

I have found that by being able to connect with how I am feeling I am finding that my not so good emotions are more permissible. As lets face it - we can't all have an awesomely happy day everyday! But for years and years I swore on my life people really did compared to me.

So no being happy is only a curse if we fake it. This was an 'awesomely happy' day for me. I visited Niagara Falls and I didn't have to break out into song, impress anyone with a joke or have the funniest story in the group. I saw something out of this world and couldn't help but smile at the awesomeness of it.


Barefoot blogger said...

Have you ever looked into Myers Briggs personality types? Discovering my MBPT and understanding why certain situations and interactions make me feel certain ways has helped me understand myself better. In particular, it helped my to identify when things might drain my enery/ emotions and what things would build them up again - you may find this useful too?

Mary said...

I soooo agree with you! People think I'm happy all the time, so when I don't come in all cheerful and smiling, they immediately think something bad is going on. In reality, sometimes I just don't feel like smiling and making everybody think I'm a "ray of sunshine" all the time!

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